Balfour lauds contributions of Coach McPhee

Calvin Balfour is in retirement now, and in a way, has gone under the radar.

The high visibility he had, particularly in the last decade of his civil service career, in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, has phased into the usual post-career low-key existence. However, upon hearing of the testimonial banquet the Grand Bahama Sports Promotion Association (GBSPA) plans in honor of the legendary Coach Gladstone “Moon” McPhee, the overdrive mindset returned.

Balfour, known as a fundamentalist, and one with a particular meticulous manner, is coordinating the table-seating for those who will travel to Freeport from New Providence for the Friday, September 13, black-tie affair which is to take place inside the Grand Lucayan Resort Ballroom. (He can be reached at 823-3079).

“This is a special pleasure for me. Already, we have reached out to such as former sports ministers Hon. Desmond Bannister, Dr. Danny Johnson and a number of sporting colleagues who, like me, appreciate the major job ‘Moon’ has done in building characters through sports and education, and transforming so many of our youthful elements into upstanding adults.

“I know this man, and what he has represented. I have always known of his sporting contributions, having observed him for many years from when I was a little boy, then throughout my time playing junior and senior basketball, and other sports. However, I worked directly with him for a little over nine years. We worked closely together, especially in my role as permanent secretary (in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture) and when ‘Moon’ managed the Grand Bahama Sports Complex (GBSC) and was also the deputy director of sports for the northern region,” said Balfour.

He attributed much of the vibrancy and the presence of the strong development of sports/hosting of the GBSC to Coach McPhee, and emphasized the tournaments he organized on an annual basis, privately through the HOYTES (Helping Our Youth Through Education and Sports) program.

“This is a giant of a man. He has been extraordinary. His role with the complex in Grand Bahama has been vital. For years, he was synonymous with the orderly way in which the facility functioned. Outside of his duties for the ministry, he had an ongoing outreach through tournaments. He has been staging two tournaments each year for decades. Especially notable, has been his insistence in doing all within his power to give female basketball a platform. The annual Geneva Rutherford Women’s Basketball Invitational has been in keeping with that concept. I think it is inspirational and heart-warming that finally, an entity (the Grand Bahama Sports Promotion Association) has seen fit to showcase this mighty Bahamian in this way. Whatever I can do from this end (New Providence) to ensure that he is aptly saluted, I am prepared to do,” pledged the former no-nonsense permanent secretary.

Balfour informed also that he was satisfied that there is a high level of appreciation for what McPhee has accomplished through the years with the nation’s youth.

He pointed to Dr. Johnson as an example and said the former youth, sports and culture minister indicated that an event to honor Coach McPhee would definitely have him in attendance. Balfour urged those interested in being a part of the testimonial banquet audience, to make contact and process their ticketing and seating prior to the September 9 cut-off date.

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at e-mail address or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.

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